Classic films on TV
Germania, Anno Zero
Sat 18 at 1am, TCM
Dir. Roberto Rossellini. 1948. 78mins. Edmund Moeschke, Ernst Pittschau.Berlin’s ruined buildings serve as an evocative backdrop for German existence after WWII, where thievery means the difference between life and death. Nazi influences still abound, having an impact on young Edmund Köhler (Moeschke) as he struggles to feed his family and make sense of recent history. Rossellini warns that without understanding the culpability of the adults around him, Edmund is doomed to repeat their failures.
The Phantom of the Opera
Mon 20 at 5am, TCM
Dir. Rupert Julian. 1925. 92mins. Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin.Character-actor and makeup-artist extraordinaire Chaney was attracted to Gaston Leroux’s novel, but Universal beat him to the film rights. The studio wisely hired the “Man of 1,000 Faces” to play the Phantom, which saved the film from doom given hack director Julian’s lack of inspiration. Chaney and Julian fought constantly, and it’s a safe bet that Chaney directed himself. His makeup design made the Phantom’s face seem as if it were on inside out. Even now it’s a creepy effect.
Mon 20 at 7pm, Encore Drama (East)
Dir. Hal Ashby. 1978. 127mins. Jane Fonda, Jon Voight.When two actors opposed to the Vietnam War—Fonda and Voight—were set to star in an antiwar film, no one really expected the subtle, complex exploration of the aftereffects of Vietnam that was Coming Home. Two different servicemen and one sheltered officer’s wife have their naive notions of patriotism and heroism shattered when they are forced to live with the consequences of what happened “over there.” The only battle scenes take place in sunny California, after the soldiers’ tours of duty.
Tue 21 at 9pm, Fox Movie Channel
Dir. Mel Brooks. 1974. 106mins. Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn. Brooks and Wilder’s spoof of the Frankenstein films is filled with off-color humor and double entendres. In their version, Dr. Frankenstein’s grandson fights his family reputation to the point of pronouncing his name “FRAHNK-ahn-steen,” but embraces his inner megalomaniac when he discovers Granddad’s private library. If the laboratory and its props look familiar, it’s because they are the originals from James Whale’s 1931 classic.
Wed 22 at 7pm, TCM
Dir. Arthur Hiller. 1969. 98mins. Jack Lemmon, Sandy Dennis.Poor Gwen Kellerman (Dennis) has lost her false eyelashes. Unfortunately, her makeup malfunction is the least of her and husband George’s (Lemmon) worries, since their business trip to the Big Apple is a disaster of mammoth proportions. Writer Neil Simon’s version of events spiraling out of the couple’s control in Manhattan is much more lighthearted than Scorsese’s sinister After Hours, but no less funny.—Shayna Connelly